EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES
by Lisa Scottoline
Statistics show that one in 24 people is a sociopath. Sociopath’s are unable to have true emotions. They can only mimic what they have seen. They also have no conscience. Many sociopaths are highly intelligent, but that intelligence is often used for evil purposes. They are master manipulators and no one realizes they’ve been used until it is too late. In Every Fifteen Minutes a clever and skillful, but evil sociopath has devised a detailed plot designed to ruin Eric Parrish, Chief of the Psychiatry Unit at Havemeyer Hospital in Philadelphia.
The reason for the ruinous plot is well hidden and it is hard to understand why anyone would be wanting to ruin Dr. Parrish. He is a dedicated psychiatrist who loves his work, cares about his patients, and has never been in trouble in his life. Things begin to go awry when his wife files for divorce and makes it very difficult for him to see their daughter Hannah. The only thing he loves more than his work is Hannah.
Then he does a consultation in the ER for a dying woman, but it turns out her 17-year-old grandson, Max, is really in need of psychiatric help. He has an anxiety disorder and severe OCD. In fact if he doesn’t perform his ritual every 15 minutes he can’t cope (Thus the reason for the title.). Max also has a fixation on a young woman he tutors and has nightmares of strangling her with his bare hands. Dr. Parrish takes Max on as a patient and then things begin to spiral out of control.
Eric is so bent on helping this teenager, that he crosses professional boundaries, and does things he normally would not do, none of them criminal, though they could be construed as such. The young woman has been strangled to death and he is accused of stalking and killing her. One of the patients on the psych unit goes berserk and Eric intercedes by tackling him and giving him shots. His wife decides to sue Eric. A beautiful med student, Kristine, comes on to him, and though, he rejects all of her advances, she files a sexual harassment claim because he has rebuffed her. Max disappears which worries Eric even more.
The circumstantial evidence against Eric is piling up. He has no proof nor witnesses to back up his behavior. The antagonist has been so good at setting up everything, Eric is suspended from the hospital, he loses privileges to see his daughter, he is in the news, and none of it is good press. Even though he is intelligent, he has no idea why this is happening and doesn’t even suspect that he is the target of someone’s plot. He decides to investigate the murder of the young girl on his own in order to clear himself. Again, everything he does could be construed as inappropriate behavior.
I could not put this book down, except to sleep. I didn’t want to miss a moment of the action. The story was spellbinding, and while I figured out the answer to some things, the ending certainly was not anything I could have foreseen. Sociopaths are clever and ruthless, as well as very good actors. Trying to figure out the identity of the sinister character did not work. This is a book you have to read to the last word to tie everything up. I have never read any of Lisa Scottoline’s other titles, and this one was picked up in passing. As we were book browsing, my daughter picked it out thinking that I would really like it. She was right. It was well worth the read. I also really liked the fact that she could write a wonderful novel with very, very few swear words and no skin showing or gratuitous sex scenes. It is possible to write a great story without all of that other junk. Thank you, Lisa. Of course, 5 of 5 stars is the rating this book gets from me.
After reading this, it kind of will leave you wondering who is a genuine person, and who is a sociopath. Maybe it is better if we try not to figure it out…